Campylobacter jejuni response to human mucin MUC2: modulation of colonization and pathogenicity determinants

J Med Microbiol. 2008 Jul;57(Pt 7):795-802. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.47752-0.


Campylobacter jejuni is the main cause of bacterial acute gastroenteritis worldwide. In its colonization of the host intestinal tract, it encounters secreted mucins in the mucus layer and surface mucins in the epithelial cells. Mucins are complex glycoproteins that comprise the major component of mucus and give mucus its viscous consistency. MUC2 is the most abundant secreted mucin in the human intestine; it is a major chemoattractant for C. jejuni, and the bacterium binds to it. There are no studies on the transcriptional response of the bacterium to this mucin. Here, cell-culture techniques and quantitative RT-PCR were used to characterize in vitro the effects of MUC2 on C. jejuni growth and the changes in expression of 20 C. jejuni genes related to various functions. The genes encoding cytolethal distending toxin protein (cdtABC), vacuolating cytotoxin (vacB), C. jejuni lipoprotein (jlpA), Campylobacter invasion antigen (ciaB), the multidrug efflux system (cmeAB), putative mucin-degrading enzymes (cj1344c, cj0843c, cj0256 and cj1055c), flagellin A (flaA) and putative rod-shape-determining proteins (mreB and mreC) were upregulated, whereas those encoding Campylobacter adhesion fibronectin-binding protein (cadF) and sialic acid synthase (neuB1) were downregulated. These results showed that C. jejuni utilizes MUC2 as an environmental cue for the modulation of expression of genes with various functions including colonization and pathogenicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / growth & development*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / metabolism
  • Campylobacter jejuni / pathogenicity
  • Culture Media
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • MUC2 protein, human
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins